Medieval Mince Pies with a Chestnut Pastry

It’s that time of year when everyone wants a good recipe. And I have been asked for so many recipes – which is lovely. But I can’t pay my bills by just giving out recipes.

So please do feel free to order food from me or come and visit me in London and pick up a few tasty treats to keep you going over Christmas  🙂



Anyway. I have had a few conversations about Mince Pies. As an Italian I have my own specific desires about the kinda pie I want at this time of year. I don’t want an overly rich, super short, sweet pie. I like my pastry to be crisp and slightly saline, super light and perfect as a foil to the sweet, soft filling. Making it great for breakfast or to have with a coffee mid morning or when you get back in the afternoon with a cuppa tea.

I did get a little carried away about the food history so I will relay a tiny bit to you. Just cos it interested me and you may like to hear about it too.

The origin of the Mince Pie is 11th Century England and originally did contain mutton (I’m not putting any meat in these – lets say that straight off). Obviously  the winter offered little in the way of fresh fruit so dried fruit was used to extend the little there was and this was spiced and sweetened. All foods were presented as they became ready so these would be served straight from the wood fired ovens … just imagine that. Blisteringly hot sweet centre with the whiff of woodsmoke lingering on the crust. (These details makes me happy).

This is a little quote from English Heritage Food & Cooking In Medieval Britain by Maggie Black (1985) However, medieval people wanted more than just salt, pepper and mustard as condiments. Wealthy European cookery was aromatic and pungent with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cardamoms and cloves, and other spices we no longer use such as galigale, grains of paradise and cubebs’ 

Don’t you just want to know what grains of paradise and cubebs taste like? Me too. In the meantime here is my take on a delicious mince pie that people will want to keep eating – not just a token effort cos it’s Christmas.

Chestnut Pastry

140g Chestnut flour

100g plain gluten free blend (a mix of rice, potato and millet flour is also good)

60g coconut palm sugar

1/8 tsp xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

180g non hydrogenated baking fat, sunflower margarine (or butter if you eat dairy)

70 ml coconut milk (which ever you like)

10 ml oil (I do like olive oil as the peppery taste is beautiful with the sweet fruit)

1 tsp apple cyder vinegar (this is not essential but it helps with the ultimate crispness)

Add the vinegar to the milk.

Whisk all the dry ingredients in a bowl and rub in the solid fat. (I do this in a food processor – my hands are too warm for good pastry)

Use a butter knife to stir all the wet into all the dry.

Wrap and chill for 20 minutes to allow the dry ingredients to absorb the wet and make a firmer dough.

Once  chilled roll out on a floured surface and stamp out 2.5 cm rounds to fill your patty tins and a 1.5 cm lid (I like to do little hearts because I make everything with love and I want people to remember that)

Fill the pies with the following recipe. Then bake for 15 minutes in a fairly hot oven Gas 7 220 ˚C. Or until they are nicely bronzed and the filling is starting to bubble.

I like to dust mine with lucuma, but you can use icing sugar.

They are absolutely their best served impossibly hot from the oven.

Medieval Mincemeat Recipe

1lb peeled cored and chopped apples (eaters not cookers)

1lb currants

1lb sut

1lb large raisins

1/2lb sultanas

1lb demerara sugar

2oz almonds,blanched and finely chopped

1/2gill rum

2oz each of candied lemon, orange and citron peel all finely chopped

grated rind and juice of 2 large lemons

1/2 nutmeg finely grated

1/4 tsp each of ground cloves and cinnamon

1/8 tsp each ground ginger and mace

1/2 tsp salt

1/4pt brandy

Mix well and store in clean jars. Allow to stand for a minimum of 4hours before use.

If you can’t get hold of all the spices and flavours just press on away. That’s how your own unique take on these pies will come about.

How lovely  🙂


An Amazing Loaf Of Bread

This recipe is NOT one of mine – but I am totally bowled over by it. It is delicious, infinitely adaptable, has incredible keeping qualities (just consider any adaptations). It is so satisfying and a little slice can be wrapped in a napkin and tucked into a pocket to keep you going all day with put having to resort to poorly made, ill thought through snacks that claim much but are made without knowledge or consideration.

This couldn’t be easier ……

…..make it yourself……

….. you’ll save more than money …

….. reclaim yumminess one recipe at a time!

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This is from ‘My New Roots’ By Sarah Britton. The book is full of great recipes that you’ll use every day 🙂

1 cup/140g sunflower seeds

1/2 cup 90g linseeds

1/2 cup 70g almonds

1 1/2 cups 150g gluten free oats

2 tbsp chia seeds

4 tbsp psyllium husks

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp maple syrup

3 tbsp coconut oil

Use a 500g or 1lb silicon loaf pan. If its not silicon then use a strip of parchment along the base to make removal easier later.

This can be made in the loaf tin/pan.

In a bowl (or the loaf pan)  mix the dry ingredients

Whisk the wet in a jug and then stir into the dry.

Allow to stand on the side for the minimum of 3 hours and up to 12.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/ 180•C / 350•F

Bake for 20 minutes on the middle self (I had to bake mine for twice as long as I made additions and adaptations – so just bear that in mind)

Tip the half baked loaf onto a metal tray and put it back into the oven for another 40 minutes. Until the loaf starts to sound hollow when tapped.

It should totally be left to go cold before you slice it like the inventor says … But i couldn’t resist a warm slice with fresh sliced pear and a drizzle of tahini … I know, I’m so predictable!

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The adaptation on this loaf was 1 tbsp vanilla powder (make this by grinding a vanilla pod in a coffee grinder) 3 tbsp date syrup 3 tbsp of fennel seeds, 3 tbsp blueberries. 3 tbsp cranberries, 3 tbsp mulberries, 3 tbsp dried sour cherries, 3 tbsp golden raisins and I used hazelnuts

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The adaptation on this loaf was 1 tbsp sesame seeds 3 tbsp of caraway seeds, a cup of green olives, a cup of sun dried tomatoes 1 tbsp oregano.


Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.

email me

phone or text 0792 310 9170


Barely Baked Superfood Sweet Biscuit

I know it’s not a very inspiring title but I really didn’t know how to describe these chewy, sweet, satisfying ‘biscuits’. The combination of ingredients is perhaps not what a classic biscuit would have, nor is the method, but these are super quick, very easy to make, taste really lovely and you can feed them to just about everyone as they as so ‘allergen low’.

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I used to love to cook with my daughters and their friends (much to other parents horror. We’d make everything from bread to cinder toffee – heyho they all lived). And even if you have tiny, barely walking toddlers I’d urge you to make these. The dough is entirely edible and a treat and you are getting some great stuff into your bubba’s body.

Another great one to make with small children (as long as they are not intolerant or allergic to sesame or gluten) is to mix equal quantities of tahini and malt extract (or honey if your child is coeliac). It makes an edible play dough rich in calcium and other nutrients you won’t find in shop bought confectionary.

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I highly recommend investing in small bags of the superfoods – you only ever use a teaspoon at a time and so it lasts ages. But the good they do you is beyond the money you pay. If you don’t want to buy them or you don’t want to buy all of them, either substitute one for the other – add more of the one you have bought or leave them out completely. Perhaps add a teaspoon of a good vanilla extract instead.

So – give these a try and let me know what you think and how you get on 🙂 (and if you are confused or worried I’m happy to help if I can)

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Dough Ingredients:

100g dried apricots, prunes or figs

100g organic sunflower seeds

40 g shelled hemp seeds

6 tsp xylitol or coconut palm sugar

1 tsp baobab powder

1 tsp suma powder

1 tsp camu-camu powder

1 tsp maca root powder

1/2 tsp kelp powder

1/2 tsp barley grass powder

1/2 tsp good quality sea salt (or else leave it out)

120ml filtered water

For rolling:

1 tbsp lucuma powder

Place all the dough ingredients, bar the water, into your food processor with the ‘S’ blade. Process until it is as fine as it will go – about 5 minutes.

At this point start to dribble in the water through the chute as the machine is running until the mix forms a pliable, firm-ish ball.

Tip it onto a clean work surface dusted with the lucuma. Roll the ball so its all covered with the Lucuma (or Maca Root Powder if you prefer – its absolutely my favourite – I stir it into warmed almond milk for a treat).

It’s at this point that you can leave the children to play with it, let them make shapes, figures, letters, numbers, eat it raw, roll it into snakes. Bake them as they make them.

Or roll it will a pin to 1/2 cm thick. Stamp out the shapes you like best and pop them onto a parchment lined tray.

If you have a dehydrator then you need to dry them at 38•C for about 6 hours. Or pop them onto your oven at the lowest setting and allow them to dry for 3 hours.

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I made a Purple Caramel Jam to top them with

60g inca berries or golden sultanas

150g agave or maple syrup

2 tsp acai powder

1 tsp purple corn extract

1 tsp raw coconut oil

Just blast these in the food processor straight after the dough is made – no need to wash the bowl.

Stores in a jar for a good 6 weeks.

– but they are far more delicious with a smear of cashew nut butter of dark tahini (I love this stuff)


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Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.

email me

phone or text 0792 310 9170


Seedy Quinoa & Millet Loaf

This delicious and delightful recipe is an adaptation from  It is full of really good recipes, not all to my taste but they are well thought out and I can see from reading them that they will work.

I often have the experience of reading a recipe and I know it won’t work, it must be very frustrating for people that commit to making the recipe to find they have wasted time and ingredients. But take heart – if a recipe doesn’t work it may well be that it is the recipe NOT you. There is a certain, very famous, female cook (she licks her fingers a lot and in often in her dressing gown eating from the fridge late at night) … I’ll say no more.

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Makes 2 x 1 lb (450g) loaves or one large one.

Set your oven to Gas 6, 200˚C 400˚F.

Line the loaf tins with baking parchment or those natty loaf tin liners. They’re great, bit more money but do a proper job and save loads of time.

30g Chia Seeds Soak these for 30 minutes in 100ml of fresh cold water.

175g quinoa

175g millet

Measure these two together in a jug, make a note of the volume. Tip them into a clean pan and cover with double the volume of fresh, cold water. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes – no longer (it’ll be too wet). Drain and run through with cold water until it is properly cold. Leave to drain for a few minutes.

Tip the quinoa, millet mix into a food processor with the soaked chia seeds and blast for a good 5 minutes at top speed whilst you …

squeeze the juice from a lime (or 1/2 a lemon)

Mix that with 70 ml of the nicest olive oil you can get hold of (or you could try hemp, rape even vegetable oil if that will get you making this)

In a mixing bowl mix the oil and juice mix, quinoa, millet and chia seeds. Then add

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

40g pumpkin seeds (you can chop these a little if you like, especially if you want to slice the bread when it is warm as the seeds can be a little firm to start with – but after a couple of hours the seeds will have softened nicely)

50g sunflower seeds

Give it all a really good whacking mix and divide between the tins.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 60 minutes (that’s plenty unless your oven is very slow).

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Cool for 20 minutes before removing from the tin.

I suggest mashed avocado, more olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

This can then be wrapped in cling film and frozen or wrap in greaseproof paper and keep it on the side for a couple of days. I can’t believe it will last longer without being eaten.

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Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.

email me

phone or text 0792 310 9170


Infinitely Adaptable Salad with a Smashing Hemp Seed and Ginger Dressing

I am rather chuffed with meself today. Husband No:1 (not sure if I’m keeping him, 23 years of marriage and he is still annoying 🙂 )came in and announced that he wants to follow the 5:2 diet (he has no need to lose weight at all – he is a damn near physically perfect specimen – but he wants to be healthier) and he is really keep for those 2 days to be fully raw, vegan days. I know for sure now that he has been enjoying those foods along with all the other delights I proffer.

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I did promise on my FB page that I would share this recipe. It is, as I say, infinitely adaptable, I would always suggest you use seasonal fruit and veg and if you can get locally grown then do so. You know if you can’t grow stuff yourself you can pop along to the local allotments or communal veg gardens and either buy the excess that they are probably selling or else go along and introduce yourself, tell them you are wanting to eat more locally grown foods and that theirs looks gorgeous (a little flattery will go a long way) and offer to buy what they have over each week. Not only will you be getting some fantastic produce, but you’ll be getting inspired by what these old boys and girls can produce and you’ll probably make a couple more friends 🙂

In all honesty, the food may well not look as perfect as the stuff in the supermarkets – I take that as an excellent indication that the food has been grown with due respect to the flora and fauna of the veg garden – and I kinda like bees …. and wasps … and even spiders 🙂

Mix this up … use what is good right now
1 cup fresh beans (broad, french, runner- in the winter you can go for sprouted mung, kidney or chick peas)
3 ears of corn (just slice the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife (in the winter you can use 2 cups of frozen – it can be our secret)
1 sweet red pepper
2 cups of chopped tomatoes (I currently am loving the very fleshy italian varieties)
2 large carrots (I am currently loving the globe variety I have in my garden – so…. carroty!)
1 corgette/zucchini
1/2 a sweet white onion/shallot

Give it all a good scrubbing wash and then chop it all into small pieces (so a few pieces could pile onto a teaspoon)
And mix in a bowl.

Hemp Seed and Ginger Dressing
4 medium carrots
a 2cm hunk of ginger (peeled and sliced)
3 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or whatever you like to use as a sweetener – this adds such a nice warm base to go with the hemp seeds)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp himalayan salt (you can use sea salt – but I like the iron hit)
1/3 cup Hemp seed oil
1/2 cup shelled hemp seeds

Pop everything bar the hemp seeds into a good strong food processor/blender and let it go until everything is a nice soft sauce. If it needs a little more water to blend it then just add it in 1/4 cup at a time.

Now just taste it, adjust the seasoning (does it need a little more sugar, vinegar, salt? Or all of them?)

Tip into a bowl and stir in the hemp seeds (my absolute favourite seeds)

Now use it to dress the above salad or use it as a dip. I love it smeared onto raw veggie wraps with some naughty avocado and apple – yum


Italian Cardamon Chocolate Torte (soft and super yummy)

Well this is one of my best recipes that will be making it’s way into the recipe book, but a rather lovely customer is utterly desperate for it and so, as I am the ‘Queen of Customer Happiness’ I am sharing it for you all to enjoy.

This makes a nice deep uber chocolate cake which is utterly lovely with just a dust of icing sugar. But if you like and you fancy something a little more lavish I suggest you divide the mix between two pans before cooking (don’t even bother to try and cut the cake in two once it is cooked – you’ll end up with lots of very delicious choccy cake chunks) and once it is cool fill and top with 16 oz/ 450g of cream cheese mixed with 2 oz/ 50 g of icing sugar and 4 tablespoons of vanilla paste – no messing 😀

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Italian Chocolate Cake

Makes a good 10 slices

140g/5 oz butter or a non hydrogenated vegetable fat

9 oz chocolate (min 70% Cocoa solids), chopped

3 tablespoons water

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

105g/3.75 oz cocoa powder

5 eggs, separated

8 oz sugar

12 cardamon pods

2 teaspoon vanilla paste

1/2 teaspoon Sea salt

Heat oven to 350˚F 180˚C Gas 4

Roast the cardamon pods for 5 minutes until fragrant and starting to colour.

Allow to cool then grind in a coffee grinder, liquidiser, food processor or pestal and mortar.

Parchment line a 23 cm or 9″ cake pan, but make the sides at least 4 cm 2″ high.

Line the bottom of the baking pan with a round of parchment paper.

Melt fat in a large bowl over a saucepan of hot water (don’t let the bowl sit in the hot water)

As it melts stir in chocolate until melted and then remove from heat.

Stir in the water, set to the side.

Whisk together the baking powder, salt, cardamon and cocoa until just combined.

In another bowl, whisk egg yolks with half the sugar and the vanilla paste until pale and fluffy.

In another very clean larger bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, then add the final sugar and beat again.

Now everything gets folded into the chocolate, keep going until well mixed.

Tip into the waiting pan (pans)

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, it should look shiny on the top and feel firm at the edges. If you’ve done as I’ve said it should be ready – you aren’t getting a dry toothpick out of this cake 🙂

Remove from oven and allow to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before you turn it onto a cake plate.

Dust with a little icing sugar or fill with the cream cheese as I suggested earlier.

Eat warm or cold.

Do not refrigerate this cake – it will go hard and only popping into the oven will retrieve that lovely tender crumb.

Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.

email me

phone or text 0792 310 9170


Fig & Persimmons (Kaki/Sharon Fruit) with Most Excellent Greek ‘Yoghurt’.

Where to begin with the great stuff in this cheeky bowl of delights!

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❤ Persimmons … Nevermind the antioxidant vitamin-C power, the vitamin-A, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zea-xanthin and cryptoxanthin helping slow aging and various disease processes. They contain health benefiting flavonoids (poly-phenolic anti-oxidants such as catechins and gallocatechins) and an anti-tumor compound, betulinic acid.

❤ Figs … Nevermind the potassium (helps to control blood pressure) it’s fiber-rich positive effect on weight management an in depth US study showed it had a positive impact on lowering Postmenopausal Breast Cancer … and then bam – its there helping prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) too.

❤ Cashews … Nevermind that about 50% of the fat is heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, there’s Copper for antioxidant defenses, energy production, magnesium for healthy bones and … you carzy people…. Eating Nuts Lowers Risk of Weight Gain!

❤ Coconut & Coconut Oil …. Nevermind it’s unique combination ofpowerfully medicinal fatty acids (its them there medium chain triglycerides), it increase your metabolism, helping you burn more fat. It’s lauric acid content can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, it keeps you feeling full. We are all mad on raspberry ketones but the fatty acids in coconut oil do the same.

Enough … I’m exhausted with all the excitement.

Actually I have a beautiful fig tree in my garden and it is in it’s first flush so I am very excited to be able to pop out my back door, grab 3 figs from thetree and pop them into a bowl with a persimmon.

The Most Excellent Greek ‘Yoghurt’ is actually a cashew and coconut blend.
Soak a cup of cashews for a minimum of 20 minutes. Drain and rinse, then pop them into a food processor with a cup of coconut milk, the juice of a lemon, 1 tablespoon of xylotol (or raw honey or have you tried the lovely coconut blossom nectar?) a pinch of himalayn salt and blitz it, add a quarter cup of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of sunflower lecithin and pour into a glass jar and chill for about 2 hours for a nice firm mix or you can enjoy it runny too



Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.

email me

phone or text 0792 310 9170